One of my Summer 2021 Bucket List activities was to finally go and see a movie in a drive-in with some of my friends- something I hadn’t done since I was a kid and then couldn’t do in the Summer of 2020 due to social distancing protocols preventing me from congregating with anyone who wasn’t a household member.
Now, having been fully vaccinated for some time and with things opening back up to normal capacities- having the drive-in movie experience became a possibility again. However, I am a little picky about what I wanted to see. I have no interest in kids movies or the latest installment of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise (the Vin Diesel/family memes I’ve been seeing really are fantastic, though)– which seems to be the only thing any of the drive-ins around where I live are showing each and every weekend from now through the end of the Summer season.
Enter the Coolidge Corner Theater and their After Midnight programming. I had briefly written about seeing a midnight screening of “Cats” via the Coolidge as my first kind-of-post-pandemic movie-going experience at the end of June– but they really deserve more than just a couple of sentences given how much work they put into entertaining fans of cult classics and downright bad movies like myself.
The Coolidge shows new releases throughout the day/evenings just like any other major movie theater in the world, but they also host educational workshops (for all ages) for those interested in movie-making, cinema and cinematic history, Q&As with directors/actors/producers/etc., dance and opera showcases- and so much more.
Their After Midnight program is exactly what it sounds like. The Coolidge opens it’s doors at 11:45 PM to show screenings of classic horror movies, action sagas, foreign films and my favorite- so-bad-they’re-good flicks like “The Room” and the aforementioned “Cats.” The concession stands remain open, they serve alcohol, and it’s always a crazy, over-the-top time.
Sometimes the After Midnight program goes off-site, too. Whenever there’s a Friday the 13th during a month- they host a Jason Voorhees back-to-back feature at a local campground (complete with people dressed up) or, like this past weekend- a drive-in experience that was exactly what I wanted.
Taking place at Medfield State Hospital- an abandoned asylum I’d written about last year– The Coolidge hosted a screening of “The Shining” on Saturday and Sunday night. Piling into my friend Sean’s new car (those are the rules. You always take the newest car!) we parked in a field at the base of the hospital’s entranceway and watched the movie with the abandoned wards looming in the background.
We were permitted to roam the hospital grounds before the movie started, which is always one of my favorite things to do. It’s such a beautiful and haunting location- and proceeds from the movie’s ticket sales went to keeping up with it’s preservation and repairs so that it can be explored and marveled at for many more years to come.
During the film, snacks were provided by food trucks and local vendors- which were absolutely delicious and a welcomed upgrade from just popcorn and candy- and it was the perfect Summertime drive-in experience I had been waiting for. Great friends, good eats- and a classic scary movie on the screen!